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Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dental procedures are highly sought after, with many Britons opting for aesthetic enhancements each year. In layman’s terms, cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental procedure that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums and bite. However, as well as changing your appearance, cosmetic dentistry may also be implemented to improve your oral health.

Like any dental procedure, cosmetic dentistry can also be subject to dental negligence, which is where the Dental Law Partnership comes in. As market leaders in the dental negligence field, we’re committed to holding dentists and dental practices across England and Wales accountable.

In this guide, we’ll go through the facts surrounding cosmetic dentistry within the UK, so you can learn more about this area of treatment.

If you’ve already undergone a cosmetic treatment and you think you may have suffered from dental negligence, please contact our expert team to start a claim.

cosmetic dentistry the topline facts and stats

Why might you want to have cosmetic dental work carried out?

There are many reasons why you might choose to have a cosmetic dental procedure carried out on your teeth. Nevertheless, the primary driver is usually linked to appearance and confidence.

Many individuals opt for these treatments to transform their visual appeal, whether that’s through restoring teeth to their correct alignment, or brightening their smiles through tooth whitening procedures. It’s also common for people to seek out cosmetic dentistry to prepare for significant life events, such as weddings, holidays, new jobs and new relationships.

Whilst cosmetic dental treatments are normally carried out for aesthetic reasons, they can also have clinical functions, such as improving your oral health. For example, the treatments listed below not only enhance the aesthetics of your teeth, but can also restore the functionality of your bite:

These cosmetic procedures may also help to reduce tooth sensitivity and make it much easier to chew and speak, as well as enhancing your appearance. Neglecting these important treatments when required could lead to further damage in the future, such as gum disease, tooth decay and loss of teeth.



How popular is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry was historically viewed as a luxury. Whilst it’s still perceived as a premium service by many, aesthetic dental procedures are more affordable than ever before. The cosmetic dental industry is growing, showing no signs of slowing down yet.

Notably, 33% of Brits under the age of 35 have had a cosmetic dentistry procedure carried out in the last year, and this number is only set to grow. Market predictions from Fortune Business Insider indicate that the cosmetic dentistry global market is set to rise to £280 million by 2027 – a huge increase from its peak of £86 million in 2020.

As such, it’s clear that cosmetic treatments are experiencing a surge in popularity. One explanation for this is due to the evolving priorities of many individuals based within the UK, as more emphasis is placed on appearance and aesthetics. The rise of social media may also be linked. The prevalence of influencers and online trends (especially with those under the age of 35) have increased self-image concerns, heightened further by filters created by social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

As the demand for aesthetic dental procedures rises, it’s logical to expect an increase in dental negligence, as more treatments are being carried out. If you’ve experienced a negligent cosmetic treatment within the last three years, you may be able to open a dental negligence claim. 

Please get in touch on 0800 152 2038 and our team of experts will help you with your case. 

a graphic showing four teeth in different shades of white

What types of cosmetic dentistry are available?

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses a wide range of treatments aimed at increasing the appearance of your smile, which means that there are many different cosmetic procedures available within the UK at the moment. 

Cosmetic dentistry may also be used to address other dental concerns, such as teeth discolouration and misalignment. Whilst this isn’t a definitive list, in most cases, cosmetic treatments are typically classified within the following categories:

  • Tooth whitening – A gel bleach is usually used to treat discolouration. Tooth whitening usually isn’t permanent, so you may have to revisit your dentist after a certain period of time. 
  • Tooth restoration This category includes treatments such as fillings, root canal therapy, bridges and crowns.
  • Tooth straightening – Otherwise known as orthodontics, tooth straightening is a slow process used to treat misaligned teeth. The most common way of doing this is by fitting braces to your teeth.

Each procedure serves a specific purpose to help you achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile. 

Statistical data shows that tooth whitening is the most popular form of cosmetic dental treatment within the UK, attracting approximately 42% of people opting for cosmetic dentistry. In this study, it was revealed that 56% of individuals favoured at-home tooth whitening treatments, compared to the 44% that opted for professional procedures performed at their dental practices.

However, it’s important to note that at-home teeth whitening kits can be dangerous, making it advisable to consult with a dental professional for any cosmetic procedure.

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How much does cosmetic dentistry cost?

It’s difficult to place an exact cost on cosmetic dentistry, as it’s highly dependent on the treatment and the dentist used. Prices may also differ depending on whether you use an NHS dentist or a private dentist – the NHS has different price bands for each treatment.

The price you pay will depend on a number of factors:

  • The type of treatment needed
  • The aftercare required (including the cost of medication)
  • Whether you’re attending an NHS or private dental surgery
  • The dental surgery and dentist used
  • Your individual needs

If you are considering cosmetic dental work, it’s advisable to make enquiries with a range of dental practitioners to gather and compare quotes. Most dentists will offer a complimentary consultation call, and you can often find further information on your chosen practice’s website.

However, the statistics reveal that the financial commitment for cosmetic dentistry is significant. Many people resort to various means for payment, including credit card payments (18%) or payment plans (19%). 16% of those surveyed opted to sell their cars to finance cosmetic treatment, alongside 13% who used their house deposit as payment. The remaining 34% used other means of payment, which remain undisclosed at this time.

Is cosmetic dentistry available through the NHS?

In Britain, the NHS plays a crucial role in addressing essential dental health needs. This means that in most cases, coverage for purely elective cosmetic treatments is limited.

Cosmetic dentistry is often perceived as something optional and primarily appearance-based, rather than having a practical advantage. However, this is not always the case, as some cosmetic procedures may serve to address oral health issues. This is particularly true in terms of restorative treatments, such as crowns or bridges.

However, it’s important to note that some NHS dental practitioners may refuse to complete a cosmetic procedure unless it is carried out privately. Most dental surgeries offer both NHS and private appointments, so you may find that your dentist can carry out part of the treatment under the NHS, potentially mitigating the cost.

Regardless of whether your negligent dental treatment was carried out through the NHS or a private dentist, we can still pursue a claim for you. If you’d like to find out more, please request a callback from our team of specialists today.

how are young people affording cosmetic dentistry graphic

Recognising dental negligence in cosmetic dentistry

Whilst cosmetic dental treatments can have transformative results, they also come with potential risks. If you’ve experienced an adverse outcome due to the negligent actions of your dentist during a cosmetic procedure, we may be able to help you.

Negligence can be extremely distressing and may also involve financial harm and psychological pain, as well as physical injuries.

The main types of dental negligence you can claim for include:

teeth whitening procedure made at home vs. in a dental practice

Personal injury

Personal injury is classed as any situation in which negligent treatment has led to avoidable physical harm. There are many injuries that can occur, including wrong tooth extraction and nerve damage.


Failure to treat

If your dentist fails to treat an oral health issue correctly, or they provide the wrong treatment, you may be able to make a claim. This also includes situations in which the wrong aftercare is provided.


Failure to obtain patient consent

Legally, your dentist has to obtain informed consent before carrying out work on your teeth. Consent has to be voluntary, and cannot be granted by anyone unable to understand the implications of the procedure. You should also be advised of alternative treatments, as well as any risks or side effects that could occur.


Failure to diagnose

If your dentist fails to diagnose an oral health issue, the ramifications can be dire – particularly in cases of gum disease or oral cancer. Negligence may also occur in situations in which a condition is diagnosed at a late stage, or if the wrong treatment has been provided as a result of an incorrect diagnosis.


Mental health issues

Patients who undergo cosmetic treatment may already have self-esteem issues, wanting to change their appearance as a result. However, experiencing negligent treatment can make psychological issues worse – particularly if you already have a fear of the dentist.


Financial arrears

You may find that you’ve suffered financial hardship as a result of dental negligence. For example, you may have to pay another dentist for corrective treatment to get the negligent work fixed, and you may have to pay travel costs to get to your new surgery. You may be able to claim this money back through the dental negligence claims process.

When you initially contact the Dental Law Partnership, you may discover that you have experienced several different types of negligence during cosmetic dentistry. If you’d like to find out more about our previous cases, please head to our Client Stories page.



Preserve your smile with the Dental Law Partnership

Experiencing dental negligence can be a challenging ordeal, but when it occurs after a cosmetic procedure, it can have profound implications. Not only can dental negligence leave you with permanent injuries, but your self-esteem and confidence may suffer as a result.

Fortunately, you don’t have to face this burden alone, as the Dental Law Partnership is here to help. Our team of seasoned dental negligence solicitors can guide you through the entire claims process, securing the justice you deserve.

Since our inception in 2000, we’ve aided hundreds of patients in pursuing their dental negligence claims, and we aim to assist many more in the years to come.

If you’d like to get started and see whether you have a valid claim, please take the first step and contact our specialist team here.

If you feel you have suffered from dental negligence in England or Wales, start your claim today.

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or call us free on: 0800 0853 823